A labor rights organization reported on Monday that Qatar had deported migrant workers for conducting a rare protest against unpaid salaries less than three months before the World Cup of football.
The Qatari government, which has been under increasing scrutiny for how it treats migrants, has acknowledged that some of the protestors from August 14 have been imprisoned but has not provided information on whether they have been expelled.
According to Equidem, a London-based labor rights advocacy group, at least 60 workers slowed down traffic outside the Al Bandary company during the demonstration earlier this month in Doha, some of whom reportedly hadn’t received pay in seven months.
“We have spoken to workers involved in the protests (including) one who has been deported back to Nepal, and confirmed he has returned,” said Equidem head Mustafa Qadri said.
“Others from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Egypt and the Philippines have also been deported,” he added.
As of Sunday, “a handful of protestors were jailed for violating public security rules,” according to the Qatari authorities.
A court order might be used to deport those protestors who broke Qatar’s public security regulations and failed to maintain calm, it was noted.
It did not specify how many employees were engaged, though.
According to the labour ministry, Al Bandary employees are receiving their back salary and benefits. Additionally, “additional action” was being taken against the business, which was previously being looked into for not paying employees’ wages.
The FIFA World Cup starts in the tiny energy-rich state on November 20.
As well as being accused of not doing enough to ease the difficult conditions, Qatar has also been accused of underreporting deaths among migrant workers. The amount of unpaid pay has also frequently increased.
While rights organizations have intensified their campaigns in the run-up to the World Cup and urged FIFA to compensate workers, the government has emphasized the reforms it has implemented.
It has established a minimum salary, scrapped a plan that granted companies strict control over employees, and tightened regulations on working in the heat of the summer.
Authorities claim that as part of the reforms, almost all “qualified workers” are protected by a new pay protection mechanism.